Advice From Class of 2018 Executive MBAs

IESE’s Cecilia Ines-Gonzalez

“I found [the MBA] especially effective having regular discussions with my upper management on what classes I was taking, what I was learning and how it applied to something current at work,” explains the London Business School grad. “Drawing the connection between the MBA courses and how it brings value for the organization is critical to justify the time spent away from work. Employers intrinsically understand the value of an MBA, but they need to be reminded of its relevance to the problems of today.”

Such value can even produce sponsorship, adds Erik Day, who spent a month writing a proposal so we could study at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business. “If you are top talent with a commitment to stay after you are educated, you will be surprised how much support you will get from [management],” writes the Vice President for Small Business at Dell Technologies’ North American operation. “Dell has been an outstanding partner in continuing my education, and I will always be incredibly thankful.”


This sense of gratitude should spill into the EMBA experience itself according to the Best & Brightest. As a physician, Vesna Petronic-Rosic had little time for spare as a student at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business – on paper, at least. Outside the classroom, she was a professor of medicine, a section chief of the dermatology at the university hospital – and that doesn’t count being a wife and mother to two children. Looking back on her time as a student, Petronic-Rosic’s biggest takeaway is this: Dive in and enjoy.It will be fascinating, hard, unrelenting, and one of the best experiences in your lifetime. Listen, learn and network as much as possible. Go to all the sessions, all the classes, all the extracurricular stuff. Every experience will be worth it.”

To do this, says IESE Business School’s Cecilia Ines Gonzalez, students must come to campus with the right intentions. It is a life changing experience at a professional level, but mostly at a personal level,” she admits. “It is a moment of reflection and deep understanding of yourself. Do it for yourself, not just the title… because you will come out of it changed…for the better.”

Not just the right intentions, says NYU Stern’s Nate Kimball, but the right mindset too – a can-do, glass half full mindset.If you face the challenge with joy and humor rather than dread, you’ll be much happier. You’re going to make great friends and learn a lot. Your life will be hilariously and uncontrollably chaotic for two years, but it’s a chance to put your time management skills to the test and try new things.”

Eric Tichy compares his EMBA experience to a vapor – something fleeting that quickly vanishes. That’s why he encourages students to focus on the big picture and keep class and study time devoted to that purpose. Make sure you are mentally present and make time to engage in the relationships and learning activities,” advises the Yale SOM grad. “If you allow yourself to be distracted by work, your phone or other priorities, you will not get the most out of the EMBA experience.”




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